The world underestimated Russia and its imperial plans. Because of this, almost all Western leaders did not take seriously enough the actions of the Putin regime in Crimea and eastern Ukraine in 2014, when the Russian authorities occupied these territories.

This was a key take-out from this week’s conference "War in Ukraine: development, trends, consequences", an event that was organized and streamed by Ukrinform.

"After Georgia and Aleppo (Syria), there was no need to be surprised by the actions of the Russian regime. If they could do this, then one should have expected something similar in Ukraine," said Steven Getins, a senior lecturer at the School of International Relations. He took part in the discussion

His colleague, a professor of the practice of international relations, Marc De Vore, said that until the last moment international experts did not believe there would be a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.

"I think collectively in the West we underestimated two things: how revisionist the Russian government is - so much so that it was willing to use force to restore something resembling an empire - and how irrational they are," he said.

In addition, the West thought that it was very difficult for one large country to try to attack and capture another country.

"Given that, and given the economic cost of sanctions that Russia would pay if it invaded Ukraine, we said it would be irrational for Russia to invade, they wouldn't do it. We overestimated their rationality or we underestimated their irrationality," De Vore believes.

That is why some countries were not aware of the danger posed by the Russian Federation for years. For example, Britain did not fight against "dirty" Russian money entering the financial market, Getins says.

Despite this, there is still no awareness of Russia's future and whom to negotiate with regarding the security order in Europe. In order for this dialogue to begin, Russia needs to be led by a government that will fundamentally accept the national borders and sovereignty of the countries that emerged after the collapse of the USSR, De Vore said.

Likewise, negotiations with Ukraine are possible only when Ukraine controls its entire territory, and the Russian Federation stays within its borders, Getins added.

He also believes that today Ukraine is at the epicenter of conversations about the future of Europe. "Your future is our future," the expert was certain about that.

His colleague De Vore thinks that "Ukraine proves every day how useful an ally it can be, and is a desirable ally for NATO member countries."

Therefore, in his view, Ukraine's membership of the EU and NATO will only enrich Europe.

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Comments (7)
Kylie Harvey
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I support
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A free society cannot be total capitalistic as we have seen in the US the damage it can cause. Also in Russia as we watch another nation prey on another nation in a senseless war over lies.
Hugh M
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Another thing to contemplate is Group Think (or Group Un-think). The West had a series of sequences & wishful thinking that led to the present:

-Going into Iraq based on faulty, oversold information (the satellite photos were looking for a forgone conclusion);

-At the end of 2 poorly executed wars in the 3rd World, America didn't want ANY involvement in armed conflicts ANYWHERE. President Obama created Red Lines in the sand and then, when Assad & Putin passed over them, did NOTHING;

-Then the same thing happened in Ukraine in 2014;

-The Western press & media only minimally covered these events.

-Hong Kong was taken over by Communist China, 1 country 2 systems has proven to be a lie. The West has done next to NOTHING.
(Now Macron wants to sell us another one...or write off Taiwan completely).

-China has enslaved millions of Uyghurs in concentration camps. The West has done next to nothing AGAIN.

As a result Putin & Xi thought there would be no consequences in Ukraine. The real questions is:

how could they think otherwise?

President Zelenski is absolutely right in wanting to create a coalition based on Democracy.

Instead our coalition based solely on Capitalism & making $$ (that Macron seemingly wants to continue) has led to disaster, war & death.
M Hnat
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The west bases policy not on the future of the West (or their countries) but on their next election cycle while autocracies base their policy in very long-term goals. This is the biggest weakness of the West against country ruled by autocratic countries that basically have leaders for life.
I support
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No one saw this coming? Russia has been after them since forever. A great powers lie is our nightmare so here we are watching the horror of history punching us in the face.
Phil Parker
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The 'world' didn’t get it wrong, the world's politicians got it wrong.

Hank DeKeizer
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@Phil Parker, Politicians in any government, in any corner of the world primarily sit in parliament to feather their own nest, the majority either don’t care about or lack the ability to understand society and culture and they lack analytical thinking skills: the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning. [In the UK ‘the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker’ sit amongst millionaire ex public school-boys whom themselves have their fingers in many pies and use their political influence to further build their own offshore accounts. The old boys’ network is still prevalent.] Organised crime in the form of corruption, symbiosis with the State, illicit dealings and everything else nefarious and abhorrent run rife within the confines of all governments.

To quote Thomas Carlyle. 1795-1881
“Government is emphatically a machine: to the discontented a taxing machine, to the contented a machine for securing property.”
“The public is an old woman. Let her maunder and mumble.”

In the final analysis, politicians are our hired help, they are merely contractors and if they don’t deliver, if they do shoddy work, if they deceive their constituents they should be fired, no less than a bad builder or plumber.
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Solzhenitsyn once declared, "Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: 'Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened. Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: 'Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened.

With atheism as it's official religion, the USSR consumed almost a third of it's people in 30-40 years.
No other nation has a track record as bad as this.
It seems not much has changed.
They view Ukrainians as their own, and the slaughter continues.

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Well said EJM Without God becomes worse than wild animals
Zakarya Rempu
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Zakarya Rempu
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Russian people aren't too religious or pious. Even most of those who go to church say they don't really believe. Was this the reason behind the Bolshevik communist revolution? Perhaps. History shows the French revolution and the Russian revolution were harmful damaging movements in the long run.